Educators 4 Excellence - Minnesota

Featured Grant10/26/16

Stronger Teachers, Stronger Classrooms

Educators 4 Excellence – Minnesota opens doors for teachers across the metro. This teacher-led nonprofit works to ensure educators have a voice in policy decisions at state and local levels, elevating the prestige of the teaching profession and creating better outcomes for students.

“As a teacher at a charter school in Saint Paul, I saw first-hand the systemic inequities that affected many students and I wanted to engage more teachers in conversation about how we advocate on their behalf,” said Madaline Edison, executive director.

Edison started Educators 4 Excellence's Minnesota chapter in 2012. Over the past four years, teachers have engaged in conversations and policy decisions around increasing diversity in teaching, strengthening teaching programs and ending racial disparities in classrooms. Currently, Educators for Excellence – Minnesota is engaged in work around the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Teachers are not only empowered to take a role in governmental policy discussions, but in creating networks to address issues in their schools. Organization and collaboration among teachers has led to progress on critical topics like the discipline disparity. Realizing that students of color often face more disciplinary action than their peers, teams of teachers came together to implement trauma-informed teaching programs that have seen suspension and exclusionary discipline rates drop.

“It’s so important to make sure our students, particularly students of color and low-income students, have equitable access to great teachers, culturally accurate and responsive curriculum and that their schools have the funding they need to get this in the hands of those who need it most,” said Edison.

The chapter now employs six staff and engages 1,600 teachers across the metro area. Support from F. R. Bigelow Foundation helped Educators 4 Excellence – Minnesota effectively engage teachers in Saint Paul and the East Metro.

“My experience as a teacher often left me feeling left out of decisions; that decisions that affected my classroom were being made without teacher input,” said Edison.

“Now, we are making great progress advocating for students and elevating the teaching profession. When teachers are involved in conversations that impact their classrooms, you see better policies and better implementation from the start. This means greater opportunity for everyone.”